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OTB #008: How to identify the turn cards you can donk bet so you crush postflop like the pros

Updated: Jan 24


Donk betting used to be considered something that only weaker poker players would do.


Since the invention of solvers, though, we know that donk betting the flop, turn and river is now definitely a 'thing'. And it's something you should look to incorporate into your own game.


Today I’m going to show you the turn cards to look out for if you want to start adding turn leads (or donks) to your arsenal.


Donk betting is where you bet into the aggressor from the previous street.


You'll start noticing the turn cards you can donk when you play and train. And even if you don't pull the trigger yet, you'll know that you've successfully identified the spots where a turn donk is a thing.


Then you can work at studying them.


This will lead to you becoming a stronger player and will also help you understand how to respond when your opponents donk bet the turn against you.


Let me set the scene…


You call a raise preflop from the Big Blind (BB) against the HJ. The flop is K82r.


The HJ, the in position player, has a big equity advantage on the flop at 63.1% so you'll fold all your garbage when they continuation bet (c-bet). But they can still have some very weak hands, especially if they've range bet the flop, which they should do on this kind of board.


This leads to a quite considerable equity shift once you call the c-bet.


You go from having 36.9% equity to 52.9% equity going into the turn. The equity has shifted into your favour, and that's before we've even seen a turn card.



Now some turn cards will be better for you than others in terms of equity and it's often, but not always, the highest equity cards that get led the most.


1. The turn pairs the board


An 8 really stands out as the best card (it's the highest equity card) for the Big Blind. A 2 is also very good.


Remember, you started with 36.9% equity, improved your equity to 52.9% equity by folding your garbage on the flop, and now have the chance to improve it further because some turn cards will be better for you than others.


So what do the 8 and 2 have in common?


They both pair the board.


Now a King would also pair the board, so why don't we lead on that?



Because you check/raise a lot of Kx on the flop, so when you just check/call you have a slight nut disadvantage on a King.


On an 8 or a 2 you have a big nut advantage - you have a much higher proportion of 8x or 2x hands than your opponent.


On a King you can still have some Kx hands that check/call on the flop, but the HJ still has a slightly higher proportion of Kx and better hands, including KK, 88 and 22 that you never have because you either 3-bet or 3-bet jam them preflop or check/raise them on the flop if you do just call pre.


The HJ is also likely to check back more frequently on turn cards that are worse for them, so to get more value you have to donk bet, which allows you to bluff and get some better hands to fold as well.


Notice how often the HJ checks back (green colour) on an 8 or a 2 compared to any other card.



A King is the third highest check back card.


The board pairing, especially the middle and bottom card, is a very common donk betting spot when playing BB vs IP in a single raised pot and it's the first one you should look out for.


There are others though, and that's what we'll discuss next...


2. The turn completes a draw


Let's say this time the flop comes down T74fd and you check call a big continuation bet, because the overarching strategy on this texture is mainly big bet with a little bit of small betting and checking.



When you call a big c-bet on the flop, the equity shift is even more significant.


The HJ's equity is 60.4% when they bet, which means yours in the BB is 39.6%.


As soon as you call the c-bet, your equity jumps up to 50.2% because you've folded all your garbage hands and you've only continued with a piece of the board. The worst hand you continue with here that isn't a draw is KJo with a club and maybe QJo with a club.


You should fold 22, 33, 55 and 66 (without a club). You're only continuing with 4x, 7x, Tx, flush draws, all 8 out straight draws and some 4 out straight draws. And then sometimes you'll raise these hands so you don't have all of these hands by calling on the flop.


Once you understand what your range looks like, you should have a good idea of which turn cards will be better for you, and which ones you might get to donk lead on.



This time the standout turn cards for the Big Blind look like a 5, a 6 and an 8.


And what do all these have in common? They all complete straight draws.


A 4 and a 7 also look like good cards and what do they have in common? They pair the board.


And finally there are some clubs that look like they're also pretty good, and what do they have in common? They complete a flush draw.


So on this T74fd board, there are multiple cards that you get to donk bet:



Interestingly, even though a 5, 6 and 8 are the best cards for the Big Blind, there's still more leading on a 4 and a 7. And there's also some leading on a Ten this time too!


But once again the highest equity turn cards have the most leading. There's no donk betting on the Ad, for example, where you have <40% equity.


What about other boards?


Let's change the board to 985r instead - a low connected board.


You've check/called a big bet on the flop so your equity has gone from 41.1% once the HJ bets to 50.9% when you call.


This time a 5, 6, 7 and an 8 stand out as the best cards for the BB.


And it's on those cards that you'll see the most donk betting:



Summary


When studying turn strategy, look for cards that shift the equity and nut advantage considerably. Those will be the cards that are more likely to benefit from some donk bets.


You're looking for a turn card that significantly shifts the equity in your favour and also gives you a higher proportion of very strong hands.


You get to leverage your equity and nut advantage by betting on these specific turn cards.


You'll see a lot of leading when the turn card pairs, especially the middle and bottom card if the BB can have a lot of those hands when check/calling the flop.


But there's also some leading when the turn completes a draw.


The next step is choosing which hands in your range to bet for both value and as a bluff. Hopefully this newsletter issue will give you the motivation to look at and study those spots this week.


Good luck!

 

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